Tuesday, September 27, 2011

De Kulture: Reviving and Repackaging Traditional Folk Music of India

Musical InstrumentsImage by natekoechley via Flickr
Sufi Kalam, Swang Nritya, Terah Taali, Waai, Rasudo, Jangad, Kaafi - if you haven't heard most of these words before you will definitely appreciate the need for this venture. They are just some of the fast-disappearing forms of traditional folk music you will get to listen to, download and purchase from De Kulture. In addition, you will get to know that Pabuji ki Phad is "an intrinsically traditional art of storytelling performed by the Bhopas or temple priests all over the fascinating lands of Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Churu, Sikar and Barmer regions of Rajasthan". And that Maulud is a "form of music originating from beyond the seas in the captivating land of Arabia, where it literally means prayer in Arabic. Pre-dominantly sung by the people of the quaintly beautiful Kutch region, the Maulud style of singing is usually performed by a group of men sitting in a circle. The Maulud genre of music is performed without the accompaniment of any musical instruments and the harmony rests solely on the melody of people singing this style." These are just some of the fascinating facts you can pick up by a visit to their website.

Ghada, Thali, Chimta - for most of us these are just things we use in the kitchen, but in the hands of an artist they are magically transformed into musical instruments of divine melody. In addition, there are the more exotic-sounding instruments like Santaar, Tandoora, Algoza, Bhapang, Jodia Pava, Kamaychar, Morchang, Rawanhatta. Prepare to be amazed at the sights and sounds of these instruments through a beautifully catalogued written and photographic description of each on their website.

Started in 2005, De Kulture not only aims to preserve the vanishing indigenous musical forms of the country by capturing its essence in high quality recordings, it pays the artists a royalty in addition to an upfront fee in order to sustain and encourage them. The foundation also aids in the studies of Folkloristics, Performance Studies and Ethnomusicology. The main objective of the founders is to dilute the risk of increasing musical homogeneity that is being rapidly brought about by globalization and to enable people from diverse cultures to reconnect with their own cultural heritage as well as to become aware and appreciate the rich cultural tapestry of other societies. The repertoire features devotional songs, amorous songs, festal, pastoral and nuptial songs as well as episodics, threnodies and authentic instrumentals. {Read on}